Freedom of choice as a critical success factor in destination marketing: Empirical evidence from a far-east gambling city

Abstract

When people feel that their freedom of choice is eliminated or reduced, they may experience unpleasant arousal. Creative tourism and the quality of the tourism experience are more likely to occur when an individual has the opportunity and freedom to choose travel options and perceives control over the activity. While freedom of choice is an essential part of tourists’ enjoyment, less research attention has been given to freedom of choice in the context of tourism destinations. This study focused on mainland Chinese travelers at a recently emerging gambling capital of the world as a case for investigation and aims at filling this literature gap by proposing a “freedom of choice—satisfaction—destination loyalty” paradigm. Hence, the main purpose of this study is to evaluate a theoretical model by examining the relationship among freedom of choice, satisfaction, and destination loyalty and the mediating effect of satisfaction between freedom of choice and destination loyalty. The study also examines the potential moderating effects of gender on the aforementioned relationships. The structural model indicates that freedom of choice had a direct and positive impact on destination loyalty, but this relationship is partially mediated by satisfaction levels. However, the model did not discover a moderating effect of gender. Based on these findings, this study discusses conclusion and implications for research and practice in the context of tourism literature.

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